Dinner at Tenzin’s House, Dzongkha Class, OCL and Tutoring
Posted on August 25, 2010
Dinner at Tenzin’s House
On August 21st, Tenzin Wangmo, our classmate from Wheaton, invited the ten of us over for dinner at her house on the hillside of Thimphu. Her father, Tenzing Yonten, is the Director of the Royal Thimphu College and her mother is a member of the Royal Family. Excited, we all got dressed up for this special dinner in honor of our hosts and three other guests that Dasho had invited – Ashi Kunzang Choden, a famous Bhutanese author, her husband Walter Roder, and Colonial Kado the father of Wheaton alum Dechen, who graduated from Wheaton last year.
After a short bus ride to Tenzin’s house, we were greeted warmly and led into their beautiful foyer. We were introduced to the guests of honor and were offered a variety of drinks and snacks. We immediately sat down and enjoyed getting to know the Colonial and Ashi Kunzang. The good humor of the Colonial put us all at ease as he engaged us individually in conversation. After drinks and snacks, we entered the dining room and stared in awe at the gorgeous buffet. It was an assortment of non-spicy Bhutanese dishes and classic Western food, such as mashed potatoes and lasagna. We loaded our plates up and walked outside to an amazing landscaped backyard, where we took seats under garden lamps. With good company, food, and drinks, the night felt like a nice escape from the usual RTC routine. Following the meal, Tenzin took us on a tour around her house, which facilitated the digestion process. Upon thanking our gracious host, we were presented with Madam Choden’s books and fresh fruit. The ride home was unusually quiet, as we all savored the fantastic night.
In order to better understand our fellow classmates and the culture of Bhutan, Professor Murphy arranged for us to have classes with the well-known Dzongkha professor Lopen Dorji Geyltshen. With open minds, we entered our first class and were greeted loudly the Bhutanese greeting, “kuzuzangpola,” which means “hello.” He gave us vocabulary sheets that we wasted no time going over. Starting with the basics, we were taught how to introduce ourselves and say where we were from. “Na Wheaton le ein,” we all repeated. After mastering the first few lessons, we moved onto more complicated phrases and pronunciations. This included vital sentences in our daily lives, such as “Too much spice!” or “Na me sa me kha tsha wu mey!” And of course, “We are students from RTC,” which translates to “Thiumphu gyel Zin tho rim lopdra.” Something most find hard to believe in the city. These lessons have helped us relate to Bhutanese students, as they are more than happy to help us study.
OCL and Tutoring
In addition to our Dzongkha classes, we decided to take a course on tutoring with Professor Kirsten Komara. This is to assist our actual tutoring of RTC students in the college Writing Lab. So far, we have learned to empathize with students and engage them in a self-initiated learning process rather that just editing their papers. All of us volunteered to tutor for 2 hours every week. In the Writing Lab we have seen many students with a variety of writing issues. Yuri even had a SGA candidate come in with drafts of his campaign speech. She was able to increase the appeal of his writing with some creative alliteration and syntax.
The course for first year students called Orientation to College Learning had very large sections. The professors asked if any of the Wheaton students would help out by teaching a section. Sarah and Devon volunteered. Twice a week they meet with over twenty students to discuss the difficulties of college life and they help the students with writing techniques that will carry over to future classes. There is a detailed syllabus for the course but they work on the lesson plans and grade their students’ assignments. By sharing their own experiences of college life, such as roommate issues and what promotes good communal living, Sarah and Devon create a lively and interactive class. Their supervising professors are very pleased with their work.